Al Qaeda Now Incapable of 9/11-Scale Attack: U.S. Officials
Except for one who is named, these are anonymous officials answering leading questions from journalists, so take it with a grain of salt. I do believe that Al Qaeda and allies have been more than decimated, but mounting a terror attack that creates mass casualties is all too easy in the modern world, as Anders Breivik and other terrorists with minimal support have demonstrated. Getting to the level of killing thousands however is what they are talking about so there is a basis for stating that that the probabilities are much diminished. Hyperbolic headlines sell papers however, so I have doubts that even the un-named officials said this as flatly as the headline states.
Al Qaeda’s core organization is likely incapable of carrying out another mass-casualty attack on the scale of September 11, 2001, U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism officials said on Friday.
U.S. government experts also believe that the likelihood of an attack using chemical, biological, atomic or radiological weapons over the next year was not high, said Robert Cardillo, deputy director of U.S. National Intelligence.
Cardillo and other U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, described these assessments on a conference call with journalists billed as an opportunity for government experts to voice their assessments of al Qaeda’s potency a year after the killing of Osama bin Laden in a U.S. commando raid.
Cardillo said the al Qaeda “core” organization that bin Laden created has suffered strategic setbacks due to the outbreak of “Arab Spring” protests and rebellions in Islamic countries, which have not spread great sympathy for al Qaeda’s hardline and violent brand of Islam.
More worrying to U.S. counterterrorism officials and their allies abroad is the possibility of home-grown extremists, or “lone wolves,” who are radicalized over the Internet or in small cells, but who also now are being given encouragement by media outlets connected to al Qaeda and its affiliates.